Award-winning actor Liam Neeson and Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador Gabriel Byrne, presented Riverdance composer, Bill Whelan with the Spirit of Ireland Award, at the 12th annual Irish Arts Center Gala, in New York on Friday night.

Whelan, a Grammy award-winner and philanthropist Dolores McCall were the guests of honor at the Irish Arts Center’s event at the New York Athletic Club.

The annual event celebrates the contributions made to the Irish and Irish American cultural community by leaders from the artistic and business worlds.
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Over 350 supporters lined out for the star studded event on Friday, including New York City Speaker Christine Quinn, actress Famke Janssen, who starred alongside Neeson in “Taken” and “Scrub’s” star Tom Cavanagh.

Later this month as part of the Imagine Ireland initiative, Bill Whelan will return to along with world-renowned fiddler Athena Tergis, an orchestra and special guests including singer Morgan Crowley and Irish dancer Mick Donegan, for four performances only, Saturday, October 29 through Tuesday, November 1, nightly at 7:30 PM.  The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51 Street. Tickets are on sale now via or 866-811-4111.